Earlier this week, we presented you with Part 1 of our roundtable discussion about the proliferation of remade classics on the DS. We questioned some of our esteemed colleagues in the gaming community about the motivations behind remaking old games, the benefits and potential pitfalls of such a practice, and, of course, their personal feelings on the issue, including games that they'd like to see.
For the second installment of our roundtable, we tapped two Nintendo bloggers with whom you're all very likely to be familiar: Kevin Cassidy, chief marathon blogger at GoNintendo, and our very own DS Fanboy site lead, Alisha Karabinus. We'd like to thank everyone for participating in our discussion, including the readers, who participated by reading.
Kevin Cassidy, GoNintendo:
There's no denying that the sales of the DS are pushing developers to get product out on the DS as fast as possible. There is money to be made, and last time I checked, developers/publishers like money. What do you do when you want to make a quick buck? You dive deep into your established titles/franchises and whip up a remake. Can we really blame the devs though? These remakes sell, and they sell enough to warrant their appearance on whatever platform they grace. If we are against the idea of remakes, we have to stop buying them!
Personally, I have nothing against remakes. My issue is with the time in-between the original release and the remake. For all intents and purposes, Disney Meteos is a remake of Meteos. Sure, you hold the DS in a different manner and there's a fresh coat of Disney paint, but this is the same game we just played months earlier. A remake of a DS game...on the DS. That's just a tad too quick of a turnaround for me. I'll bet my beard that we'll see another Meteos version before the DS dies out.
On the other hand, Square Enix is going all out on their Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest remakes. While we are yet to judge a DS Dragon Quest remake for ourselves, we are looking for that same quality found in Final Fantasy III for the DS. It is obvious that Square Enix took their time with this title. The game received a major overhaul in all areas, and even offered up some new gameplay elements. This is the other end of the spectrum when talking remakes. This is the type of quality that warrants a remake in the first place. The only problem is that Square Enix sees that there is a lot of dough to be made from these remakes. Let's hope the quality of FFIV DS doesn't drop in the name of the almighty dollar.
I get the feeling I appear to be coming down hard on remakes. There are titles that I want to see get a new life on the DS. I really think we need some more classic NES/SNES/Genesis titles on the DS. Perhaps it is the aging gamer in me, but I want these young DS owners to see where gaming came from. Spruce up the graphics a bit, redo the sound, but don't go nuts. Let's get a BattleToads and Double Dragon remake on the DS. These are characters that older gamers are still fond of, yet we haven't seen much of them in a very long time. Where the hell have Zitz, Pimple, Rash, Billy and Jimmy been? TradeWest (if you still exists!), Rare...make this happen. Trust me, there are people out there that want this!
And no...we don't want touchscreen fly-eating...
Alisha Karabinus, DS Fanboy:
You certainly can't say that the lion's share of DS remakes are being driven by the handheld's particular technology ... but then again, do they need to be? Sometimes it's just nice to have a really great or really popular game in portable form. The Virtual Console is awesome, but you can't take it with you. Look at FFIII -- it didn't really benefit, as such, from anything other than the rote power of the DS, but when you have an RPG that focuses so heavily on grinding, the ability to carry it around can make that process a lot less painful. And if you want to look at another example, which is not really a remake, look at Mario Kart DS. In a lot of ways, Mario Kart didn't gain anything from being on the DS, other than Wi-Fi. All of the things that were added in are nice, but unnecessary. Oh, yay, I can draw an emblem! But is that the game's strength? No -- it's the fact that you can take it with you and get your game on at your convenience.
But I think technology drives some of the remakes as well, which is why we're seeing so many PC-based games, like Myst and Sim City, head to the DS. Anything that relied heavily on a mouse can translate very well to the DS -- whereas a lot of similar games have been less than user-friendly on traditional consoles and handhelds. I just hope we really see that potential come to fruition in the way that we've seen adventure games blossom.
Does that mean we need all these remakes? Nah, especially with some of these Final Fantasy titles, since they were just redone for the GBA. But if I had to choose, I'd rather have them made for the DS. Sure, you can play your GBA carts in your DS, but some of these older games are still available in classic form and the GBA isn't always a huge leap ahead. Again, look at FFIII -- it gave the characters names, even, and added a whole new dimension to the title. Some people may not like it, but hey, they don't have to play. But for those of us who do, I think it's nice to have the option of something updated, something fresh.